Best Ironbirds Pitcher: RHP Zach Jevne (3-4, 2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 57 IP, 51 SO, 12 BB, 18 ER)
It should come as little surprise that the Ironbirds' only pitching All Star would be named their best pitcher of the year. Consistency has been the key for Jevne, who has kept his numbers where they are for the entire season. He has been able to get further into games on limited pitch counts, averaging 4.75 IP per start in his 12 starts with the Ironbirds. Though he may be a little older than most of the pitchers at this level in the organization, he has come on strong after a mediocre debut with Bluefield last year. Like many of the young Orioles Minor League pitchers, Jevne likes to work off of his fastball and work within the strike zone.
Jevne attributes his success on the mound to his consistentcy.
"Locating pitches and trying to get ahead of batters, and trying to do the same thing every time," Jevne explained to Inside The Warehouse.
For his services with the Ironbirds, Jevne was rewarded with a call-up to low-A Delmarva at the beginning of September. In his one start there, he went 6.0 innings and gave up just 2 runs on 2 hits, with 3 walks and a couple of strikeouts. With his time done in the NYPL, Jevne finished as one of the beest starters in the entire league, ending up in the top 10 in ERA and WHIP at the time of his call-up.
Biggest Disappointment: 2B Ryan Adams (.247 AVG, .306 OBP, .332 SLG, 18 RBI, 17 BB, 57 SO).
To be labeled a disappointment requires that the organization expects a lot from you. Such is the case with 19 year old Ryan Adams, who has seen his share of struggles this year. Defensively, he could have been a little better with 17 errors at second base, but he has also shown that he can range well to his left and right. The biggest disappointment for him this year, however, has been the lack of improvement in the hitting department. Yes, his average could be higher if a few hard hit balls landed or the deep alleys of Ripken Stadium were more similar to Oriole Park; but the lack of patience at the plate, highlighted by a 17 BB:57 ratio was a major culprit. As disappointing as this may seem, the Orioles' Director of Scouting, Joe Jordan, remind us that it wouldn't be the first time a highly ranked prospect has come back from a tough year.
"We'll find out what he's made of because he's having a bad year and, hopefully, he will turn out like [Brandon] Snyder, who got healthy over the years and he's having a really good year."
His body of work over the course of the season may be disappointing, but over his last ten games (August 23 through September 1), Adams is hitting .390, while 6 of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases. He is also riding a modest streak of 6 games in which he was not struck out.
"The first time they really struggle, sometimes they have to bottom out before they start listening and then start again," Joe Jordan added in regards to Adams' season.
For now, it appears that maybe his season has bottomed out, and hopefully his career, and the last 10 games are more of an indication of the player Adams is, and will be. The talent is there, and he is still just 20 years old. Despite this unflattering accolade, the future is still bright for Adams.
Most Valuable Ironbird: CF Matt Angle (.303 AVG, .420 OBP, 42 BB, 66 H, 42 BB, 38 SO, 54 R, 31 SB, 2 E)
Matt Angle, the centerfielder for the Ironbirds, established himself as one of the best players in the entire NYPL, let alone the club. He stole his way into the All Star Game and is in the process of setting new Ironbirds records.
Every steal he gets, run he scores and walk he takes will establish a new record for the Ironbirds. The hit record may be a long shot, but he is 13 shy of that record and is already in the top 10, even after missing more than a week due to a wrist injury. Angle also patrols centerfield very well and has committed just two errors, but has saved extra bases with his speed, arm strength and instincts. What was even more impressive was the impact Angle had on the team when he was out with his injury. The Ironbirds won just once when Angle has not started a game.
"He's got the ability to stay in centerfield and be a leadoff hitter," Joe Jordan told Inside The Warehouse. "He's had a great summer for us."
"Matty Angle being hurt [changed] our whole offense. He got on base so many times, stole bases, scored so many runs and shagged everything in centerfield," Etch said of Angle. "It's really hurt because the left-field situation [had not been] good [when Angle was] hurt."
RHP Zach Britton: Britton really improved as a starting pitcher this year, but everything started to come around mid-season. After getting his first professional win with Aberdeen, his control and variety of pitches started to play into his advantage. Look for Britton to come on strong for a breakout year next season.
1B Joe Mahoney: The 6'7" first basemen Mahoney looks the part of a strong power hitter when he gets in the box. It wasn't until just after the All-Star break that he started to play the part. His versatility may move him up levels in the minors as he played some left-field when MVI
Matt Angle went down with a wrist injury. However, his hitting must prove to be consistent and his defense also needs to improve. Mahoney can hit homers with the best, but his glove might hold him back at first base, and left-field for that matter. After his professional debut, it is not that bad to think that Mahoney may look like a potential solution to first base, which has been a constant necessity for the Orioles over the past couple of years.
LF/CF Joe Nowicki: Nowicki may not have the speed to cover centerfield, but he filled in admirably for Angle during Angle's injury. Primarily a corner outfielder, he played solid defense all year and was probably the most consistent hitter for power and was right there with Angle after the first couple of weeks, until he ran into a slump in mid-August. Among NYPL league leaders in home runs, RBI, and average; Nowicki was the closest runner-up to Angle for MVI.
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